A Sad Day in Stone Mountain.

There’s no joy in Stone Mountain tonight. I’ve been forced to give up my beloved Harley-Davidson motorcycle. My association with HD goes back about 70 years. My first exposure to these fine motorcycles came about in the late 1940s. My two buddies and I scraped up $25 from mowing lawns and doing other odd jobs. We spent that money to buy a war-surplus Harley-Davidson after WW-II. It was in bad shape, but it was beautiful to us. And we were proud. The first motorcycle into Berlin at the end of WW-II was a Harley. My dad help us keep it running and we three guys took turns riding it, each keeping it for about a week at a time. We sold it when we all went off to college. Then came the start of a career for me followed by a wife and then a couple of kids. That resulted in me working seven days a week and no time for motorcycles.

My next HD was in the mid ‘60s when I was able to buy a ten year old 1954 Harley-Davidson “panhead.” I loved that old bike. It leaked so much oil I carried an extra quart in one of raggedy saddle bags to “top it off” after almost every stop. I lost it in a divorce settlement. And I was out of the bike business for a few years.  Then, a fellow at WSB put a notice on the bulletin board. He had a “like new” Honda 750 for sale for a thousand dollars. I offered him $900 and he turned it down. A year went buy and he posted the same bike for sale for $900. I offered him $800. He insisted he had to have $900 but “he would throw in some helmets and stuff.” I bought it and was riding again. But I really wanted another Harley. When that gets into your blood it doesn’t go away. So I rode my Honda out to HD of Atlanta. I saw the 1980 bikes in the showroom – and they had “drip pans” under them. Those old engines had changed over the years, but they still leaked oil. I just wasn’t going to go through that trouble again. So I traded my Honda 750  in on a Honda “Gold Wing.” It was a one of the last Gold Wings that was made in Japan and it came “clean,” just a basic bike. I had them put a windshield and a couple of saddle bags on it and I rode it all over America for ten years.

But my love of Harleys never ended. So in 1990 I went back to the dealer and they had updated those bikes (and the engine) remarkably. I bought a beautiful red “Softail.” From then on I traded for a new model every year. I had ridden motorcycles for 50 years and never had a serious accident. But, over the years I developed macular degeneration which basically means that I’m slowly going blind. MD is a progressively, incurable, and untreatable loss of vision. And over the last year my MD has gotten so bad that it has become dangerous for me to ride a bike. It’s not safe for me or for other drivers. So, with genuine tears in my damaged eyes I took my last ride today. Riding a motorcycle gave me a sense of freedom that nothing can replace. My riding days are over. I will miss riding a bike but I will always love Harley-Davidson. I’ve had the pleasure of riding the real thing for many joyful years.

About johnbeckmanbooks

John Beckman, a retired meteorologist, was known as “Johnny the Weatherman” in a career that spanned forty years. He forecasted the weather on WSJS-TV in Winston-Salem, NC, at WFGA-TV in Jacksonville, FL, and for thirty-three years in Atlanta at WSB-TV and WXIA-TV. Also a well published author Beckman now devotes full time to writing fiction. He currently has several eBooks on Amazon.com, "Tropical Knights," first in a series of adventure/mysteries about a sailor and his lovely CIA cohort on a mission to save America. Now available the sequel, and second in the series: "Tropical Daze." The third Jack & Amy adventure is "Tropical Rage" which became available on 30 April 2014. All of his books are highlighted on http://johnbeckmanbooks.com and available from Amazon.com. . .
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to A Sad Day in Stone Mountain.

  1. Laurann Cook says:

    So sorry Johnny about your eye probably. My brother in law had that and was given some type of injections. I don’t know if they helped or not I’m sure you have all the updates on eye care. Good luck.

  2. Mike Brooks says:

    John, my heart goes out too you my friend. I had to give up my Kawasaki years ago to simpler economics, but I’ll never be able to ride again either. Though we’ve rarely interacted other than on the ARC repeater, I feel like you are a good friend. I’m losing my sight too, to cataracts. I’ve already lost my right eye to VA surgery. You’re in our prayers and our thoughts.

    Mike, WZ4HOG (formerly N4MLB)

  3. Terry L. Erion says:

    Hey Johnny. I am very sorry to hear about your MD. My mom had it but was still able to see a little up until she passed away. AND my soon to be 100 year old aunt also has it and still gets around and has enough vision to get by so take heart. She doesn’t ride a harley but can still dance! I’m guessing your vision won’t have any effect on your imagination and writing skills either!!! Oh and one other kind of morbidly positive way to look at it is that at least you are one that knew when your last ride was and gave it a proper farewell. LOVE to you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s